Tonight was my 18th year producing a talent show at my school…. And I often joke that talent is often the misunderstood term….or is it?
I always dread this time of year. I dread the sign-ups, where we are given a million reasons as to why a child’s exception to the stated rules should be accepted. I dread the try-outs, where we have hovering parents that push children who don’t want to be involved; or where we have students who show up with no act prepared, but still want to BE an act. I dread the practices, where we painstakingly plod through every awkward nuance of a live performance; not appropriate lyrics; your act is too long; it’s not long enough; you can’t simply draw a picture on stage; you NEED to HAVE an act if you’re going to participate; and on and on….. . I dread the dress rehearsal where I have to tell students that their outfits are too tight, too short, too formal, not fitting for the act; or they need extra props; or they need to focus on a part of their performance in order to improve their act. I dread the expectation to always be constructive, and positive, and encouraging, even when I want to scream, ” you suck….maybe this isn’t your talent!!!”
But the amazing thing? The lesson that I obviously need to relearn every year since my attitude needs a major adjustment every year? Is that sometimes the sweetest parts of life are those we’ve had to work the hardest for. That maybe we wouldn’t truly appreciate the butterfly if we didn’t understand the caterpillar it once was. That maybe the beauty isn’t in the final product, but in the process of becoming.
Because the night OF the talent show each year, when my students are dressed in their Sunday best, and they sing, dance, play, recite, or act their little hearts out, and I remember them from just a few weeks earlier, it’s like the pearl that was found in the ugly, broken shell suddenly washed ashore, gleaming in the sunlight. The pearl would still be pretty, even if that’s all we saw. But the true value of the pearl is understanding the journey it takes simply to become what it’s intended to be.
And isn’t that how we all are? Aren’t we like my students in the talent show? We need someone to KNOW what we’re made of, what we’re worth; that despite how seemingly awkward we may appear to be at times, that we have the ability to shine, that we have what it takes… and that our value isn’t in our final transformation . It’s in our journey to get there.